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GN-STAT CASE 02 (Advance notice)
The illegal G36 assault rifle deal by Heckler & Koch with Mexico
Mexico has been a major market for European weapons exporters, especially German ones, since the 19th century. Handguns and rifles made by the company Mauser have been especially popular, and abundantly available, for violent conflicts. Following this tradition, Heckler & Koch - founded in 1949 by the Mauser engineer Heckler - has been exporting the G3 assault rifle to the North American nation since the 1960s.
From 2006 to 2009, more than 8,000 G36 assault rifles plus accessories were sold officially to the Mexican Defence Ministry - though in reality the number of weapons actually delivered is much higher.
Officially, the weapons were intended to arm the police against the country's drug mafia. But soon - in violation of German law - these weapons appeared in the hand of corrupt police officers in Chiapas, Chihuahua, Jalisco, and Guerrero. These four troubled Mexican states were already then counted among the main sites of the country's drug wars. In 2014, proof was discovered that the illegally exported G36 rifles were used during the kidnapping and apparent murder of 43 students of the Ayotzinapa teachers' college in Iguala, Guerrero.
It was also proven that several H&K employees, including two executives, were involved in this illegal arms deal. In 2010, peace activist Jürgen Grässlin pressed criminal charges against top H&K employees, while in 2012 his lawyer Holger Rothbauer added charges against representatives of the Federal Office of Export Control and the Federal Economy Ministry. The evidence was and is overwhelming, but despite this Stuttgart state prosecutor Peter Vobiller dropped the investigation against the representatives of the arms export control authorities.
The criminal charge against H&K itself, however, has been successful: in May 2016, the Stuttgart state court decided to initiate proceedings against six suspects. Among them is the former state court president and H&K executive Peter Beyerle, charged with deliberate violation of the foreign trade law (AWG), in concomitance with twelve counts of organized violation of the Foreign Trade Law (AKG).
The main trial is scheduled to begin on May 15, 2018 - eight years, one month, and five days since Grässlin pressed charges. The trial will be take place in the 13th criminal chamber of the Stuttgart state court over 25 court days, and is scheduled to last until October.
GN-STAT will actively follow the trial and report on it worldwide.
As of May 10, 2018, you will be able to find facts, background, and details on GN-STAT CASE 02 here.
María-Eugenia L. Valencia, Email: email@example.com
Jürgen Grässlin, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel.: 0761-7678208, Mob.: 0170-6113759
INVITATION TO A VIGIL:
Start of Heckler & Koch criminal trial in Stuttgart
"Others save lives. We help to kill. Heckler & Koch."
May 15, 2018, 8:00 am - 9:00am
Outside the state court, Olgastraße 2, 70182 Stuttgart
(Trial begins at 9:30 am)
May 15, 2018 will see the start of the trial, at the Stuttgart state court, of six employees of Heckler & Koch for the illegal export of G36 assault rifles to Mexico. We invite you to take part in our vigil for the victims of Heckler & Koch's unscrupulous business practices.
More than eight years after Jürgen Grässlin and Holger Rothbauer filed their criminal charges, the Heckler & Koch trial will finally begin. The charge: from 2006 to 2009, thousands of G36 rifles and accessory parts for which no export licences existed were knowingly sent to several Mexican states. The indictment: violation of both the War Weapons Control Act and the Foreign Trade Act.
On the night of September 26, 2014, six people died in Iguala, in the Mexican state of Guerrero, when a group of teaching students were attacked by police and other armed groups. Forty-three more students "disappeared". Later, it was proven that Heckler & Koch G36s were being used by the town's police force - according to official permits, the rifles should never have reached the state of Guerrero.
The sad reality is: by selling weapons to Mexico, Heckler & Koch simply accepted that they could be used in crimes like the one perpetrated in Iguala. The same is true of the German government and the German export control authorities, who treated human rights violations in Mexico as a problem limited to certain states, and decided to approve small arms exports to other parts of the country - a horrendous decision that was doomed to failure. The flow of weapons is not contained by state borders.
We feel solidarity with the many victims of this unscrupulous business practice and scandalous export policy, as well as their relatives, and would like to remember them on May 15, 2018. We invite you to join our vigil and the first public trial hearing that follows it.
RüstungsInformationsBüro (RIB e.V.), Deutsche Friedensgesellschaft - Vereinigte KriegsdienstgegnerInnen (DFG-VK), Ohne Rüstungs Leben (ORL), Deutsche Menschenrechtskoordination Mexiko, Aktion Aufschrei - Stoppt den Waffenahndel!